History

Renato’s is situated on Bristol’s historic King Street spread across two Grade II* Listed buildings: No. 33, which was originally a merchant’s house, and No. 34 which operated as a grain store – both of which date from the 1650s – making them older than the LLandoger Trow. 

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Named after King Charles II, King Street lies just south of the original town wall and was laid out in 1650 in order to develop the Town Marsh, the area then lying between the south or Marsh Wall and the Avon. The north side was developed first and the south side in 1663.  Nos 33 & 34 are the only surviving buildings of the original development.  Upstairs boasts ornate 17th-century plasterwork – which depicts pomegranates, winged cherubs and a frieze of dogs and fruit (pictured below) – is cited in Pevsner’s Architectural City Guide to Bristol. Click on the images below to enlarge.

Plaster cherub detail Plaster frieze

You can read more about the history of the building and see what King Street would have looked like through the ages at Know Your Place, Bristol City Council’s historic environment record – just search for 33 King Street and then select the ‘Historic Information’ tab, and tick the ‘Monuments’ box, then click on the map to read the record.

Renato’s originally opened as Ristorante da Renato in 1971 at No. 19 King Street on the south side the road.  La Taverna dell’Artista opened on the north side of King Street, opposite, in 1980, initially only occupying No. 33 (the building on the left), before it incorporated No. 34 next door.  By a process of association La Taverna also became known as Renato’s, and for a long time both businesses thrived in King Street.  No. 19 is now sadly closed, but No. 33 continues to thrive.

Links to More Images
Here’s a late 19th-century image of Theatre Royal with the original building (before Renato’s time) in the background on the right.  Here’s a picture from the 1950s here . Here’s a 1977 image – we know the date as it’s the Queen’s Jubilee year.  There’s lots of amazing photos on Flickr that give you a feel of the atmosphere.